12 Aug 2021

12 Aug 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Small waterbodies reduce the carbon sink of a polygonal tundra landscape

Lutz Beckebanze1,2,, Zoé Rehder3,4,, David Holl1,2, Charlotta Mirbach1,2, Christian Wille5, and Lars Kutzbach1,2 Lutz Beckebanze et al.
  • 1Institute of Soil Science, Universität Hamburg, Germany
  • 2Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN), Universität Hamburg, Germany
  • 3Department of the Land in the Earth System, Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
  • 4International Max Planck Research School on Earth System Modeling, Hamburg, Germany
  • 5Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam – Deutsches Geo Forschungs Zentrum (GFZ), Potsdam, Germany
  • These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract. Arctic permafrost landscapes have functioned as a global carbon sink for millennia. These landscapes are very heterogeneous, and the omnipresent waterbodies are a carbon source within them. Yet, only a few studies focus on the impact of these waterbodies on the landscape carbon budget. We compare carbon dioxide and methane fluxes from small waterbodies to fluxes from the surrounding tundra using eddy covariance measurements from a tower located between a large pond and semi-terrestrial vegetated tundra.

When taking the open-water areas of small waterbodies into account, the carbon dioxide sink strength of the landscape was reduced by 11 %. While open-water methane emissions were similar to the tundra emissions, some parts of the studied pond's shoreline exhibited much higher emissions, underlining the high spatial variability of methane emissions. We conclude that gas fluxes from small waterbodies can contribute significantly to the carbon budget of arctic tundra landscapes. Consequently, changes in arctic hydrology and the concomitant changes in the waterbody distribution may substantially impact the overall carbon budget of the Arctic.

Lutz Beckebanze et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on bg-2021-212', Anonymous Referee #1, 28 Oct 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Lutz Beckebanze, 08 Dec 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on bg-2021-212', Anonymous Referee #2, 08 Nov 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Lutz Beckebanze, 08 Dec 2021

Lutz Beckebanze et al.

Lutz Beckebanze et al.


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Short summary
Arctic permafrost landscapes feature a lot of waterbodies. In contrast to the terrestrial parts of the landscape, the waterbodies release carbon to the atmosphere. We compare carbon dioxide and methane fluxes from small waterbodies to the surrounding tundra and find that the carbon dioxide uptake of the landscape is reduced by 11 % when accounting for waterbodies. Consequently, changes in hydrology and waterbody distribution may substantially impact the overall carbon budget of the Arctic.